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© 2003
Center for Black Studies

William Jones
Visiting Researcher

Rites of Passage ceremony for
Krobo children in Somanya and Odumase,
Eastern region, Ghana, West Africa
art, photography, digital media
by William Jones











I feel that the real strengths of the United States are its culture, intellect, industry, commerce, and financial services. U.S. culture has been exported globally. One huge aspect is its’ entertainment industry, which is routinely criticized for its production of shallow pop music, and violent movies and television shows. U.S. intellectual power is displayed in its societal developments and day-to-day modern conveniences. The U.S. will continue to
be the manufacturing leader, but will only employ 10% of the population because of technology. America will remain the only superpower because of its cohesiveness as a unit. The industrial and commercial sectors will grow due to manufacturing and export of goods, and the financial services of savings, loans, and the occasionally fluctuating, but strong,
value of America’s currency in the
global marketplace.

My predictions for Africa are based on my own observations of West Africa and are limited to Ghanaian society. I saw that the government is focused on making infrastructure growth and development
a priority. Technology and education
are viewed as paths to economic empowerment. Private wireless companies offer satellite cable and cellular phone services as viable alternative solutions to the inadequate local telecommunication industry. Internet cafés provide public access to computers for on-line web browsing. Educational institutions are making computer labs a priority so the students can learn modern marketable skills and to be prepared for the global workplace. Universities are also exploring on-line distance learning as a solution for students to receive global educations without the expensive cost of international travel.




The following predictions are based on my recent observations of major technological advances by America and other developed nations.

In the future, our use of technology will continue to increase dramatically. Technology makes it possible for the world to rapidly become a virtual “global village.” All nations will become increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent. The welfare of the entire world is directly or indirectly affected by the welfare of individual nations, and political isolation will no longer be an option.

There will be new openings for industrial growth. These openings will come from robots doing the work of the masses, along with increasing consumer demand for new products and services, and computers. Technology will allow advancement and increased access for humanitarian aid, which will be disseminated to underdeveloped countries to improve the quality of life of all citizens. Societies will increasingly interact and learn from each other. Some opportunities for access to global information include the Internet, improved telecommunication technologies, and affordable transportation for overseas travel. Not all interactions will be positive unfortunately, as evidenced are new health threats (AIDS, SARS), economic turmoil (WTF conflicts), and increased terrorism (9/11).

It seems to me, the real strengths of the European Union are its regionalized cultures and integrated economy. All European countries have one or more major industry talents. This intense specialization of talent means that European nations have to interact to supply their own needs from each other. Countries also have the individual freedom to excel at what they do best. The new common currency, the Euro, will further encourage trade across borders. Europe's diversity is also its weakness, as language differences can be a barrier to communication. Accessible technological translators will help address this issue.

In North America, Canada will have skilled labor, and Mexico, unskilled labor. In East Asia, there will be an economic contest between Japan and China. East Asia will be the fastest growing region in the world in technology as well as population. They need and will begin to export services, not just goods.

I traveled in two very different regions of Brazil, and saw that development and usage of technology in Brazil ranges significantly based on the needs of the community. Brazil has one of the most extremely skewed distributions of wealth in the world. The cities of Rio de Janeiro and Salvador are prime examples of this disparity. In Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil well known for its beaches and its tourist attractions, is economically a service industry center. It has remained a key center for oil and telecommunication multinationals, businesses and conference centers. On one hand, there are wealthy neighborhoods such as Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. On the other hand, the poor are forced into squatter settlements, Shantytowns, known as favelas. In the future, technologicy and the infrastructure will develop when the city solves its financial and social inequality problem by modernizing the favelas and dealing with the shortage of utilities for all of its citizens, regardless of their race or social class.

I also traveled to the city of Salvador in the state of Bahia, Brazil, home to the largest population of people of African descent outside of Africa. In Bahia, agricultural technology is important because of the proximity to the Amazon region and the Mata Atlântica, a strip of forest along Brazil's coast that has most of the country's natural herbs and medicines. Technology has also become critical during Carnival in Brazil, one of the largest parties on the planet. Information through various media channels is necessary to coordinate the different events, performing groups, participants, and millions of tourists. Visiting during the Carnival season, I was bombarded by the media as soon as I stepped off the plane through multiple broadcasting and advertising methods such as televisions, radios, loud speakers and amplification devices. I predict tourism will continue to increase its dependence on technology as more travelers buy tickets and create their own itineraries using the Internet.

The main factors that will influence these changes in the years to come are: demographics, natural resources and the environment, trade and finance, technology, and governments. Demographically, the world’s population will grow the most in poor and developing countries. There will be an over-exploitation of natural resources and the environment. For nations’ trade and finance, there will be the growth of financial institutions. Technological innovations will continue at an ever-increasing rate. The most successful technological innovations will also be the ones that are the most profitable, for they will be the most practical.

These predictions are based on personal theories, observations, technological advances and trends.